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Licensing Act 2003

Please note, during the Covid-19 pandemic, our processes have substantially altered for many of our licensing functions – please email for details.

The Licensing Act 2003 came into effect on 24 November 2005.

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It established a single system for licensing premises which are used for the sale or supply of alcohol, providing regulated entertainment or late night refreshment.

Licensable activities are:

  • To sell alcohol by retail
  • If you are a qualifying club, to supply alcohol to a club member, or to sell alcohol to a guest of a club member
  • To provide regulated entertainment
  • To sell late night refreshment - selling hot food or drink between 11:00pm and 5:00am for consumption on or off the premises, (including take-aways and mobile caterers) unless you are a hotel, staff canteen or campsite.

These licensable activities may only be carried on under, and in accordance with, one of the following:

The Act itself sets out key licensing objectives that must be promoted by the Council, as the licensing authority, in carrying out its duties under the licensing system. The licensing objectives are:

  • The prevention of crime and disorder;
  • Public safety;
  • The prevention of public nuisance; and
  • The protection of children from harm.

Licence holders, the Council and other agencies must all work together to promote these objectives.

Every premises where alcohol is supplied under the authority of a premises licence requires a Designated Premises Supervisor and such individuals must have a Personal Licence.

If you store, prepare, distribute or sell food (including drink) then you will also need to be food registered or approved.

Notices of review applications received will be made available on the website.

The Council has prepared a Licensing Policy which must be reviewed every five years or sooner if necessary.  The purpose of the policy is to set out the approach that the Licensing Authority intends to take when determining applications and carrying out its duties with regard to regulation and enforcement.  The policy does not seek to explain the various application processes, however separate guidance and advice on making an application or requesting a review of a licence is available from the licensing authority on request.  Applicants and members of the public are advised to contact Licensing Services in the event of any enquiry for appropriate advice.

Throughout the year, officers of the Licensing Authority will carry out risk based and unannounced inspections of all licensed premises to ensure conditions of licence and safe standards are being maintained.  Should you have a concern about a licensed premises, please contact the Licensing Service by telephone, in writing or by email.

Further information about the Licensing Act and the licensed trade can be found on the following websites: